Antique Mirror Mirror, On The Wall - John Isaac
Of all household artefacts, the mirror, or the Looking Glass, as it is still referred to in aristocratic circles, is one of the most ancient. Uniquely, it combines total practicality with elements of mysticism and primitive superstition.
You may recall from my previous articles that I favour using pictures, lamps, wall lights, cabinets and other furnishing accessories which are slightly over scale in terms of their size to give a sense of drama and importance to the room. This applies particularly to choosing and positioning a mirror. For example, a large, overmantle mirror will really make the fireplace the centrepiece of your sitting room. It will increase the sense of space, add light and reflect other interesting objects such as a central chandelier or pictures on a facing wall. Filling the chimney breast with an overmantle mirror is influence by French taste and there are several fine examples on the LoveAntiques website.
For example, LA4730, a French silver leaf overmantle priced at £1395. Its simple lines and silvered finish would fit into the most contemporary of rooms. Another, LA4736 is equally attractive and priced at £895. The classic, architectural style of Regency mirrors will also compliment the modern home. Look at the Regency Giltwood Overmantle made c. 1830 and priced at only £580 (LA3838), ref or the tall elegant example c 1880 ref LA4406 at £650. For something more fancy with baroque swirls in carved giltwood, the Antique French Mirrors of 1800 ref LA 4385 is a snip at £750. Similarly, another French giltwood with elaborate frame is LA 1269, early 1900s, £1750. A particularly interesting overmantle is the one that combines a painting or cartouche in the top section of the frame such as item LA4856, a beautiful eighteenth century oil painting and mirror from Italy priced at £1250.
If you think that one large overmantle is unsuitable, consider buying a pair of smaller mirrors and placing them in the recesses either side of the chimney breast. Symmetry and pairs of objects always have impact. This would work well with item LA 3390, a pair of Convex Mirrors surmounted by eagles c. 1820 priced at £880. Again, Regency or Empire styles fit in so well with the modern room. For something really special, and may be for a formal dining room, the pair of Venetian eighteenth century mirrors with candle sconces ( LA5461 at £5420 ) would transform your home into Downton Abbey!
The Entrance Hall, Landing or corridor are areas where mirrors can be useful as well as decorative. Because these areas are functional and, in most cases, have little in the way of furniture, an elaborately framed mirror can lift it out of the ordinary and give it some impact. There are many suitable candidates on the love antiques website. I particularly like the large mid nineteenth century wall mirror LA 1618 priced at £1280. A modern reproduction of this size and quality would cost much more. Another French example dating from 1880 is LA1105, is modestly priced at £495. A quirky example which I like is the Chinese carved mirror from the 1920s (LA 5759) at £395.
Finally, the bedroom can feature any of the above, but, if you have the space, consider buying that most useful of mirrors, the Cheval. Look at the Burr Walnut Cheval from the 1900s - LA 5736, the epitome of Edwardian elegance, or the earlier one from 1860 - LA 5709 - with mahogany barley twists at £795.
The variety of shapes, sizes, finishes and designs is endless but the mirror remains one of the most essential, timeless and mysterious objects we all need in our lives.
Click here to see a full selection of antique mirrors on LoveAntiques.com.
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